ObamaCare and Your Taxes: What You Need to Know

I received a phone call last week from the niece of a client who works as a waitress with an annual income of $18,000. Not able to afford professional tax preparation services, she had gone to the library to do her own taxes on the IRS Free File System. Really simple return. Single, no dependents, one W2. Files it electronically.  Takes five minutes to file. Then three weeks later she gets a letter from the IRS asking her to complete IRS Form 8962 Premium Tax Credit. She attempted completing the form using the complicated formulas and the tables provided in the instructions and became confused. Could I help her?

Sure! No problem! Piece of cake! Or so I thought.

Owe Back Taxes? Lose Your Passport

The roughly 8 million Americans who live abroad automatically get a couple additional months each year to file their taxes. Don’t expect them to be grateful.

Filing to the Internal Revenue Service from overseas is more confusing, complicated, and expensive than it is for Americans at home (and that’s saying something). Unlike almost every other country in the world, the U.S. demands its citizens pay taxes on all foreign income. They must file even if they have lived and worked abroad for decades, and even if they’re already paying hefty taxes to the countries where they reside.

Understanding Your 2016 Tax Forms

By now, you probably have a stack of tax forms from employers, banks, stockbrokers, lenders and more on your desk – or more likely, the kitchen counter. For some of you, those tax forms will end up in the hands of a tax professional, the rest of you will input the information on those forms, box for box, into tax preparation software – maybe with a little swearing along the way. No matter how you plan to do your taxes this year, you likely don’t know what all of the numbers, letters and other information on those forms mean. That’s about to change. This is the first in a series of posts meant help you make sense of all of those forms.

First up, here’s what you should know about the form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement:

A form W-2 is issued by an employer to an employee. That carries with it some significance and not only for tax reasons. An employer has certain reporting, withholding and insurance requirements for employees that are a bit different from those owed to an independent contractor.

Looking For Your Tax Refund? Here’s What You Need To Know.

Looking for your refund?  The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says that it’s issuing 90% of taxpayer refunds in less than 21 days. That’s good news for most taxpayers.

If you’re wondering about the status of your refund, check out the “Where’s my Refund?” tool at IRS.gov or (use the IRS2Go phone app, free for Android devices from the Google Play Store or from the Apple App Store for Apple devices). You can check the status within 24 hours after the IRS has acknowledged receipt of your e-filed tax return or 4 weeks after you mail a paper tax return. There’s no advantage to checking all day long: the IRS only updates the site once per day (usually overnight).